Don’t delay home maintenance

by Dan Krell © 2013
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Take action – consequences of deferred maintenance can hurt home sale.

Home MaintenanceAs we slowly emerge from one of deepest recessions that has hit in generations, one of the top issues facing home owners (especially those who plan a home sale) is deferred maintenance.  Although a lack of financial resources could be a main reason for postponing repairs and/or regular maintenance, other reasons for doing so may include a home owner’s lack of time as well as a home owner’s psycho-social issues getting in the way of carrying out maintenance (as in the case of severe hoarding).

Deferred maintenance in a home is simply putting off repairs and timely upkeep of its systems.  Delaying maintenance may turn today’s minor repair into tomorrow’s major problem.  Of course not all minor repairs turn into major issues, but even minor issues can be a nuisance.

Preventative maintenance can help prevent the elements from entering the home.  If delayed, issues can develop and affect other home systems.  Maintaining caulking and seals around windows and doors as well as flashing on roof components can prevent water penetration into the home.  Putting off repairs may allow water leaks, which can seep through walls and ceilings deteriorating drywall and even possibly weakening floor trusses/beams.  Openings in seals and caulking may also allow pests to enter the home, which can also create additional issues if not addressed.

Many home owners do not pay much attention to the exterior because they spend most of their time indoors.  The roof, gutters, and downspouts are often neglected due to a lack of awareness; many home owners don’t often check these systems and usually put faith in that they are doing their intended job.  Home owners may not even know there is a problem with these systems until it’s too late.  Water penetration from these systems can not only create problems as described above, but if left unchecked can also create problems in the basement and foundation.

Water does not have to penetrate from the exterior to create problems, it can originate from unrepaired plumbing leaks as well.  In addition to causing staining on walls and ceilings, plumbing leaks if left unattended may likewise, weaken floors.

Another regular maintenance item that is not often performed is HVAC servicing.  Ideally, a home’s furnace and air conditioning system should be serviced in spring and fall.  Regular servicing of the HVAC systems can not only possibly extend the systems’ life but also can help identify safety issues (such as carbon monoxide leaks in some systems).

Home MaintenanceDeferred maintenance issues often decrease a home’s value and can prevent a home from selling for top dollar; sometimes preventing a home from selling at all.  If you’re planning a sale and recognize that there may be deferred maintenance issues, you might ask your agent about having a pre-sale home inspection or home audit to determine the home’s condition and urgent repairs.  Your agent can provide guidance on repairs and pricing your home.

If you’re like many home owners, you might have deferred maintenance on your home.  Some experts recommend a “home audit” to determine your home’s condition.  It’s never too late to start budgeting for home maintenance; to meet regular and emergency maintenance needs, some experts recommend an annual savings of one to three percent of the home’s value. Planning ahead can make home maintenance easier as well allow you to make informed decisions to possibly lower your maintenance costs.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published the week of May 6, 2013. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2013 Dan Krell.

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